Chat and social media reactions, images, and poetry
July 5, 2021 9:00 PM   Subscribe

"When so much of life is mediated through WeChat, stickers become a necessary mask. A way to be visible without committing. Communication without actually communicating." Chaoyang Trap (previously, cofounded by MeFi's Own beijingbrown) delves into "laziness-as-resistance" in China (discussed in a recent New York Times article), the process of making and selling these images, how they differ from reaction GIFs, copyright, woodblock prints, fandom, and more. Related: the poem "This Language That We Share" by Judith Kingston.

Since there's no image description on Kingston's tweet, here's the poem:
This language that we share (by Judith Kingston)

This heart I press it means
'ha!' and it means 'hi' and it means
I see your pain or your joy
or I see you are out with friends and
I like that or love that or wish I was
there. It means I know this place or
I got your joke or clever reference and it
means look: we are alike, we share this,
or it means I am clever too, like you.
It means I support you or you are
beautiful or you made me laugh and
sometimes it means hello, I am still here,
I am still reading and we are still friends,
although we haven't spoken for a while,
I am still speaking this language to you,
I am still sending you
this heart.
posted by brainwane (5 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I have a quite good friend in China, she spent some time in the West and is a millennial trapped in the financial vise exactly as these articles describe. I worry that she is too willing to speak candidly with me on WeChat but she is fully on board with the lying down trend.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:14 PM on July 5, 2021

Great post! I love DJ Ctrl-C/V.
posted by Panthalassa at 10:18 PM on July 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

There is so, so much in the first link that I’m still working through. Fascinating to see the pressures of virality and independence at work in this area. The “sang” culture ideas make me think of 1980s-era US comics like Life In Hell mocking earnest workplace culture. Is there a Gen-X equivalent coming up in China?
posted by migurski at 12:10 PM on July 6, 2021

Also this quote:

Starting to twitch involuntarily as I recall the countless poorly-considered references to accelerationism and misappropriations of Mark Fisher’s writing that I’ve had to translate, but should we ask if an accelerated rise also results in accelerated entropy? To put it another way, it took Europe and America around a century to get from capitalist industrial takeoff to SoundCloud rappers, and China only 40 years.
posted by migurski at 12:14 PM on July 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

It’s wild to read about the sticker-to-merch world of Chinese stickers and compare it to the world of furry Telegram stickers I’m immersed in. Making sticker packs is a popular sideline for furry artists: you set a price that’s probably similar to a couple or full-body commissions, then you take a model sheet and a list of ideas and crank out a half dozen or so images. You pass them off to the client, who uploads them to Telegram themself - there’s no marketplace or approval on stickers there, just anarchy.

Every furry chat is thus full of people using custom stickers of their own characters. Or if they’re not an artist and don’t have the funds to commission some, using stickers borrowed from someone else with a character who’s close enough to work - this tiger girl is not *my* precise tiger girl but it’s good enough to express my emotions through. There’s a few meme sets - the goofy maned wolf with the long long legs sticks out in my mind - but mostly it’s just personal stickers as far as the eye can see.

Including some really really horny ones, because furries are pretty open about being horny cartoon animals. :)
posted by egypturnash at 7:08 PM on July 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

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